Visiting other Libraries

Access schemes for University libraries

Many universities will allow reference access at some times during the year. Check the relevant library website for details and always contact the library before you visit to ensure that you have access.

In addition to this there is a scheme in place which give University of Essex students greater access to some institutions.


The University of Essex is a member of SCONUL Access, a scheme which allows many university library users to borrow or use books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme. The scheme covers most of the university libraries in the UK and Ireland. This is
If you are:

  • an academic on an open or fixed term contract
  • a postgraduate research student registered for a PhD, MPhil or similar qualification
  • a part-time, distance learning and placement student
  • or a full-time postgraduate

you may be able to borrow from other college or university libraries.
If you are:

  • a full-time undergraduate student
  • staff of a small number of higher education libraries not participating in the scheme

you may be able to use the resources of other college and university libraries for reference.
If you would like to avail of the services available under this scheme, please go to the SCONUL Access website and apply online. Please be aware that some member libraries may not offer access to all categories of user.
N.B. SCONUL Access visitors applying for use of the University of Essex library should note that applications can only be processed Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, access to students from other universities applies to the Colchester campus only. Access to The Forum is for all as it is a public library as well as an academic library. Access to East 15 library is not permitted.

Searching Other Libraries

There are also plenty of platforms out there that can be used to search multiple libraries at the same time. They can also be used to search specfic catagories within the libraries


Search for items located in a library near you. lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.


A union catalogue. It provides free access to the merged online catalogues of 24 major university research libraries in the UK and Ireland PLUS the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the National Library of Wales/Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.


Formed in 1993 (as InforM25) with the aim of fostering co-operation amongst its London-based, higher education member libraries in order to improve services to users. The consortium now has 52 member institutions. Includes access to its union catalogue and to the University of London union list of serials


Serials UNion CATalogue for the UK, it is currently still a pilot project which commenced in February 2003. It is a key tool for locating serials held in UK Libraries.


The University of Essex
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